Silence is Violence

artane-demo-3Today a group of us took to the streets of Coolock at Northside Civic Centre where my motion regarding the history of the Artane Band and the Artane Industrial School was put before the North Central Area Committee. In what can only be described as a gross act of denial only one Councillor voted in favour of the motion. (Cllr Michael O Brien)

Denial ruled the day. It was an act of shocking violence the deafening silence.  How can it be that the findings of the Ryan Report and the finding of serious Garda inquiry into child abuse, wholesale criminal and sexual violence that was perpetrated in Artane industrial school can be written out of history?
It is a great shame that the Cllrs in this instance chose to keep Ireland and it’s people in the dark and protect the Christian Brothers and their manifestation through the present Artane Band.  The people of Artane and indeed the North Central Area need now to stand up to this shameless shameful act.
The paedophiles and rapists and child abusers will take great comfort in today’s decision by this area committee and its councillors.  While we, the people who experienced this abuse in our childhood, carry a much heavier burden as a result of today’s refusal by the Cllrs to acknowledge the true and proven history of the Artane Boys Band, the Artane Band and the Artane Industrial School.
Like the dark days of the beginning of this journey for justice, we stood alone against the Catholic Church, the Christian Brothers and the orders of nuns.  Sad today, that we stood alone again at the North Side Civic Centre.

We take comfort from the many people, local residents  who we met, all of whom understood our issue and were fully supportive.
We thank you for your hospitality and we will be visiting with you again soon.
Truth and Justice are what we seek.

These two motions below were fully supported last month by all but two Councillors at the North Central Area Committee Meeting. 

Again supporting a true denial of the accurate and true history of the Artane Industrial School and the Artane Boys Band – Artane Band.  History repeats itself in the form of gross denial.  Our lives don’t matter.


Response to Lord Mayor Brendan Carr

September 15th 2016

Press Statement from Dublin Independent councillor Mannix Flynn

Mannix Flynn, an Independent councillor in Dublin City Council has today hit back at Dublin’s Lord Mayor over claims that his calls for the disbandment of the Artane School of Music are “upsetting the vast majority of Dubliners”.

In an article in one of today’s newspapers, Brendan Carr, the Labour Lord Mayor, was quoted as lambasting Flynn over his motion: “[Flynn is] raising the issue over the way kids were treated years ago, but the impact he’s having on the kids in that band at the moment is something that any city councillor should be ashamed of”.

In a statement issued today, Flynn has called on Cllr Carr to withdraw his remarks and separate his opinions from that of the Lord Mayor’s office, a title which should remain impartial and unbiased.

“If Cllr Carr would take a moment to discuss the matter with me he would understand that the Artane School of Music, in its current form, has evolved out of misery and brutality forced upon innocent children who attended St Joseph’s Industrial School in Artane.

“It is not accurate for Cllr Carr to insinuate that I am out to cause hurt to any of the children involved in the current band. The debate is much deeper than that.

“While the Lord Mayor has every right to call on crowds to cheer on the band at Sunday’s All-Ireland final, he is quite wrong in congratulating the band’s 130-years of ‘proud association with the GAA and Croke Park’. Those who attended St Joseph’s School and who were in the band attest to the monstrosities they and other boys endured during their time there. The band was more often than not an escape from the degradation and neglect other boys suffered as they undertook menial chores on a day-to-day basis. Being in the band meant you could at least wash occasionally and couldn’t be beaten on the face, but it did not exempt you from the sordid sexual abuse that was rife in the school.


1969 – Artane Boys Band travel to America to raise funds.  They are in blazers and not the usual uniform as the band room had been burned down.  Former band member Patrick Walsh (Irish SOCA) is in the front row aged 15 years.  The notorious Brother Joseph O Connor  (Joe Boy) took this photo, Shannon Airport.    


“I have come under criticism for raising this issue but if you were a child who endured any amount of time in an industrial school, you would be reminded of the horrors that took place every time the Artane band took to the pitch on match days.

“And I’m not alone. This week, members of Irish SOCA  (Survivors of Child Abuse) came out in support of my cause. Like me, these were men forced into industrial schools and some of those were even in the band in Artane and experienced first-hand the exploitation and manipulation of children by the religious.

“Will the Lord Mayor acknowledge that his apathy and indifference to their suffering is causing much hurt?”


New Motion lodged on Monday 12th September to Dublin City Council:

That this monthly meeting of Dublin City Council, mindful of the shameful legacy of institutional abuse in industrial schools documented in the Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse, call on the Artane School of Music to disband as a matter of human rights.

The School of Music is an establishment jointly run by the Christian Brothers and the GAA, yet encompasses the original and traditional insignia and uniforms that hark back to an age of chronic sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the religious.

The Artane Boys Band was used as a front to hide the gross inhumanity that took place at St Joseph’s School in Artane and other industrial schools run by the Christian Brothers at home and abroad. The harrowing memories of these institutions for abuse victims are regularly flaunted without care or recognition at national sporting events in Croke Park in the form of the present Artane band.

A disbandment of the trust would sever all ties with the former industrial school and its brutal history and in doing so, would acknowledge the ongoing collective suffering of so many.

Institutional Abuse Public Meeting




Please see below information events and dates that Caranua (service name of the Residential Institutions Statutory fund).

Institutions covered link to list of Institutions

For those living in Dublin the event takes  place next Saturday 12th March (10am-1pm) in the Gresham hotel.  For all of those who have suffered as a result of the institutions as defined in the Ryan Report and other such reports this public meeting by Caranua is important to you, as this organization is charged with administering assistance to those who suffered in such institutions.  It was set up by the then Minister Ruairi Quinn and has a budget in excess of 100 million euros which was part of an overall compensation package designed to address education, social and health issues, counselling, mental health and emotional issues.

Many of the former residents are elderly and infirm and many are in substandard accommodation. Caranua offers assistance with some house improvements, personal health issues and educational issues by way of financial support in the payment of bills.

It does not offer direct financial support by way of cash to individuals but is more to assist and help and support with provision of services and goods.

If you know of anybody who was in any of these institutions and could do with assistance and support and the relevant information regarding how to access such supports you should inform them to attend these meetings where relevant information will be supplied and also it’s an opportunity to somewhat socialize and meet others.

See you all there at the Gresham, next Saturday.

It is also important to note at such gatherings that anonymity and boundary and confidentiality are important to us all and above all to treat each other with courtesy and respect.

City Venue Date and Time Type of event


Dublin Gresham Hotel, O’Connell St, Dublin Saturday 12th March 10am – 1pm In addition to Caranua, other organisations will also have information stands at the event.
Manchester MacDonald Manchester Hotel, London Road, Piccadilly, Manchester Saturday 9th April 10.30am – 1pm This event will only involve Caranua
Cork River Lee Hotel, Western Road, Cork Saturday 23rd April 10am – 1pm In addition to Caranua, other organisations will also have information stands at the event.
 Galway Radisson Blu Hotel, Lough Atalia Rd, Galway Saturday 14th May 10am – 1pm In addition to Caranua, other organisations will also have information stands at the event.


New Memory

Sacred heart

Past Trauma, New Memory and the Now

We are shaped moulded by yesterdays, past generations of our families hand down formed rituals as facts to live by. Generation after generation, commemmoration after commemmoration. Rigid to custom, tradition and strict rule.  Ireland and the Irish State draws from a similar past for its authenticity. As a people we seek our identity in a past that is overwhelmingly tragic.  We are baptised by and large into a faith based on suffering, sacrifice and death with a promise of everlasting afterlife. Our very bones carry the memory of a traumatic past, not of our making, and we are captured and held hostage by it and, as we face into this commemmorative decade, we must ask ourselves – who we truly are and what we would like to become in the future? What new memory can we create now that will change that perception of ourselves as victims and survivors which keeps us from true ownership of ourselves.

In Ireland, change comes about with great reluctance, resentment and vindictive consequences.  We have had the case of Savita, the X case, the child abuse issue, the nursing homes, the banking issue, the planning issue, the Northern troubles, not to mention the Limerick City of Culture and the issues of Temple Bar Cultural Trust – yet, no new way is forged.  We remain childlike, hapless.  We jump up and down and shout outside the Dáil, re-elect the same people and on it goes. Yet no lessons are learned.  No new way forged.  We all complain about RTE, The Abbey Theatre, yet we still watch and we still go.  Disappointment seems to be our sedative.

Appeased by our own complaining, we saunter fatalistically along with our false image intact.  Uncomfortable? Of course.  But alcohol can take care of that. On we go, until somebody mentions any of these institutions or individuals and then the backlash begins.  You are accused of having ‘sour grapes’.  You’re accused of personalizing.  The keepers of ‘no change’ make you out as a loose cannon.  Negative, destructive, dangerous.  A threat to their cosy number.  And we all sing the chorus line ‘Sure it’s not that bad, ah sure it could be worse’. “lets move on’. Or in the immortal words of Pat Cox “I’m determined to hit the reset button’.  Not address the problem, not learn from the problem but simply “reset” so the problem seems never to have happened – that’s the Irish way.

So what do you do with themes like the role of memory in making theatre.  The challenge of commemorating historical events? Well, you simply make something new.  Something that will grow and be free.  Big and open.  The making of new memory.  New ackowledgement of the immediate now.  Your now.  Our now.  How you feel rather than how you think.

The challenge is not so much about the challenge of commemmorating historical events like 1914, 1918, 1916, 1922 , the Lockout, the Battle of Clontarf.  It’s about how you set yourself free from them. And how you free them from us. Create a new legacy.

We have to remove ourselves by all means possible from our own institutionalisation.  Otherwise the continued indoctrination of our collective memory by the State and other agents through the spectacle of event commemmoration will succeed in reducing us to spectators, lookers on and not the true owners of our own history.

Theatre events are made from interrogated memory, from memory which is investigated and creatively interpreted.  The burial of active memory and conscious recall is a form of conditioned self-censorship.  In a way, we have to save memory from being consigned to memory. We must resist adopting the ruling class memory of a magic nostalgic masquerade which separates us from truth.  Their version of our memory is akin to a closed down thing. Coma induced.  Our conscious memory struggles to be switched on.  So tread softly cause you tread on my memory.  Memory cannot be told ‘thus far and no further’.  So let new memory arise. Without interference and without baggage.  Memory is not a thing of the past.

Facebook, Google, Twitter, Linkedin and their like, they are the enemies of live human memory.  The mobile phone and other machines have the potential to erode and take over our relationship with our memory and private self.  Synthetic history has begun – out there on the world wide web.  In our hands, on our persons, in our houses, in our environment – our intimate relationship with our private selves and self discovery, that mystery, that journey is being surrendered to triumphant capitalism and consumerism.

“No Escape” at the Peacock Stage some time ago, and also part of this symposium, is, in my view, an exercise. An excuse for the lack of  artists’ involvment in exposing State terror and church inhumanity as well as society’s indifference to what went on in State institutions in this country.  The theatre makers in this case take a whitewashed State document – the Ryan Report- take witness statements and do a kind of pageant enactment which turns real events into theatre commodity.  Rendering the struggle for truth and justice into a night out in the theatre for the elite cultural class.  It is easy to move an audience to crying and feeling sorry for what happened to the poor kids in the institutions in this society.  It is much more courageous though to enrage a public in order to change this society.  In this instance the State Theatre, used a State document in furtherance of its own self-service and appeasement.  True story and real events are stolen from the owners.  The authentic voice is silenced and we are estranged, again. Orphaned again. This time from one of the few things we can truly call our own   – the memory and experience of what happened to us.  The theatre in this instance kills the possiblity of inclusion for an entire generation and a deeply oppressed class.  The struggle is betrayed and all of the uncomfortability of Irish society is laundered out, made safe.

New memory can only arrive with true authenticity.  An uncontaminated platform.  It won’t hold or lend  itself to the notions of those with no real true cultural credibility who float about, aloof.  New memory will seek the risk taker. The brave.  The daring.  Not those who lick up to the Arts Council or other funders who wish to continue to promote the lie of the status quo. The fake of the State.

The Risen People, the show, set out to make new an old play, an old story about a past real event.  The primary purpose of staging the work at the Abbey Theatre, the State Theatre is the acknowledgment of the anniversary of the 1913 lock-out 100 years ago.  This meaning gets lost at the Abbey Theatre because of the failure to acknowledge what they have created, which is the ‘theatre of commemmoration’ and not the theatre of the Risen People.  What now needs to happen here is a process of disentanglement from versions of the work to a celebration of the new possibility for a new public that will carry a lasting memory of commemmorative theatre that has meaning and healthy acknowledgement of real events in our city.

The future generations have a right  to be free from a contaminated institutionalised collective memory that enslaves them and closes down the possibility of past as a celebration.  Our task is to rescue and recover historical memory and events from the brutalised past and transform them into celebratory events.  Free of the brutalised memory. Now is the time for a new hour, a new day, a new memory for a new time.

The Myth of History

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Glad to see that Margaret Skinneder is being given her rightful place in our history. The women of Cumann na mBan and all the women who gave service and duty to the cause of Irish Freedom are being sidelined in these forthcoming celebrations. The public now have an opportunity to demand, as per the proclamation that they all fought for, that full equality and recognition be given to the women of Ireland and indeed the children of Ireland who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom in order to end oppression.

There simply cannot be a two tiered system of commemoration that favours a body of men over a body of women. The example here from the archives shows a deep prejudice and a continued inequality that is still very much part of today.

The commemorative committee of the Government and the commemorative committee of Dublin City Council along with county council throughout the country, who are charged with organizing commemorative events need to be very mindful of these inequalities.A soldier is a soldier, male of female. A revolutionary is a revolutionary.

All too often as in the case for instance of the Algerians who fought in the 2nd world war against the Nazi’s for the French, were sidelined because of race, creed and colour and were never to this day, given full recognition or their pensions.

Addressing these issues will give commemoration and remembrance ceremonies greater meaning and can be instruments in confronting exclusion and championing inclusion.  Above all, it must always be about mans inhumanity to man and that war and violence changes little.  If a person goes out to fight in the hope of a better life and in the victory of that the homeland that they fought for, discriminates against them in favour of the new ruling class as in the case of Margaret Skinneder and her pension rights and parity of esteem, well then all we are doing is continuing the same regimes. The same kind of rule.  The same type of authoritarianism. The same kind of class, gender and economic divide.

The words of the proclamation have yet to see themselves entirely in action.

President Michael D. Higgins address at the Abbey Theatre yesterday, clearly identifies these historical and present fault lines.  Don’t read and weep.  Read and do something.  The above images are just some of the women who gave their lives in death and also gave of their time through out their lives for the Irish people and humanity in general.  We should know them as our own and keep them close in our hearts and in our minds and always attempt to do a little in honour of the lot that they have done.  Learn their names and learn their good deeds.  And we can change this society for the better.  History as a myth…broken.

UN panel grills Catholic church.

Theatre of Memory Symposium, Abbey Theatre – Irish Independent

State White Wash


The design for the Government/Irish State memorial as recommended in the Ryan Report – Commission to enquire into child abuse in Residential Schools is seeking planning permission.   This premature gesture, in the form of a memorial/monument is more of a crushing blow to truth, transparency and justice than any of the horrendous testimonies contained in the Ryan Report itself.  This pseudo attempt by the State/Government of the Republic of Ireland to address the issues of torture and inhumane treatment of children in its care is an outrage in itself and an insult to those who are continuing to struggle for justice and accountability for the many crimes committed against them in State sanctioned and religious run institutions on the Island of Ireland.

Recently, the First Minister and deputy First Minster of Northern Ireland extended the terms for the inquiry into historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995.  This is a Statutory Inquiry.  Many such inquiries have yet to be established throughout the length and breath of Ireland in every parish to uncover the truth of what happened to generations of children at the hands of the most trusted.  The more difficult issues of responsibility, accountability and securing justice for the abused still appear to be a long way off.  Justice is still being denied to thousands of individuals who were brutalised in institutions in the Irish Republic and few of those who did the brutalising have had to face any consequences for their behaviour. While these core matters remain unresolved, erecting this memorial is premature, a folly built on sand.

Memorials are about the past and the issues of physical, emotional and sexual abuse in Irish institutions are not yet historical. Certainly not for the women forced to toil in the Magdalene Laundries, nor for the children of the “ Bethany homes, Mother and baby homes, the trafficked children or those abused in day-schools,or the most recent report into the child prison, St Patricks Institution Dublin, none of whom have yet had the wrongs done to them acknowledged, heard or redressed.  Until their stories are heard and honoured, erecting a ‘monument’ is, at the very least, insensitive.

Doubly so when it is sponsored by the same State which was a co-accused and a guilty party to their abuse.

 The time to memorialise an issue like this is only when all that can be put right has been put right.  That time is not yet here. 

This memorial is a whitewash and an avoidance of truth by the very people who were engaged in the joint venture of torture and inhumane treatment of generations of children, the Irish State.

view of walkway

The reports on child abuse highlight how the law did not serve or apply to all members of Irish society equally. Despite the severity of the crimes revealed in the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne reports which range from physical assault to rape, very few perpetrators have been convicted.  The neglect and abuse in these reports can be categorized as torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under human rights law.  The children’s right to be free from slavery and forced labour were contravened.”

Amnesty International Ireland Report, October 2011

What can you do?

Write to Dublin City Council Planning Department and raise your objections to this obstacle to justice, truth and exclusion. The web reference on Dublin City Council  website 1196/12

Email your”

view of walkway2walkway lightsAn inscription of the ‘apology’  of former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern,  is proposed to dominate the tunnel.  This same person is responsible for the indemnity deal between the Irish State and Church.  (See also Bruce Arnold, ‘The Irish Gulag’ page 122  – The Secret Deal)

plans 2As you can see from the plans the tunnel is designed to come out at the head of a crucifix in the Garden of Remembrance.  A highly inappropriate symbol to be merged into any memorial to children who have been abused by the State and Church.White washView the plans of the ‘OPW’ memorial on our site at Essex Street, Temple Bar Dublin.